Third climate activist set to be elected to Exxon board

The votes are still being counted and the results are still preliminary. But Exxon (XOM) admitted after its shareholders meeting last week that two of its board seats went to climate activist hedge fund Engine No. 1. On Wednesday, the oil company said a third candidate for Engine No. 1 had defeated one of Exxon’s favorite directors.

Exxon said nine of its nominees were elected to the board, which is made up of 12 directors.

“We look forward to working with all of our directors to build on the progress we’ve made to increase long-term shareholder value and succeed in a low-carbon future,” said Darren Woods, President and CEO of ExxonMobil . “We thank all shareholders for their commitment and participation, as well as for their continued support of our business. “

The vote was a major step in the fight against climate change. It was the first major US corporate proxy campaign in which the case for change was built around moving away from fossil fuels.

“We are grateful for the attention shareholders have given to our nominees and are delighted that these three individuals are working with the entire Board of Directors to help better position ExxonMobil for the long-term interests of all shareholders.” , the No.1 engine said in a statement. Wednesday.

Engine No. 1 argued that the climate crisis poses an existential threat to Exxon – a threat the company has not taken seriously enough. contrary to PA (PA), Royal Dutch Shell (RDSA) and other European oil majors, Exxon has doubled its oil and gas investments despite growing concerns over the climate crisis.
This strategy has not paid off: The world’s most valuable company in 2013, Exxon has lost nearly $ 200 billion in market capitalization since its peak. He had enjoyed an unbroken run as a member of the 1928 Dow Jones Industrial Average until he was excluded from the exclusive index last summer.

In the five years leading up to the pandemic, Exxon’s total return (including dividends) fell 17.5%, according to the No.1 Engine. It was easily the last among the five largest oil companies in the world. during this period, Exxon being the only one to suffer a loss. . The S&P 500 has jumped nearly 80% over the same period.

However, Exxon rebounded in 2021 as oil prices climbed. The share price is up 41% this year, almost quadrupling the lead of the S&P 500. Yet Exxon remains far from the records reached in mid-2014.

Although Engine No. 1 only owns 0.02% of Exxon’s shares, the hedge fund has won backing from large institutional investors.

Institutional Shareholder Services advised shareholders to vote in favor of three of Engine No. 1’s nominees. Citing Exxon’s “questionable strategy” for the future and “declining returns”, Glass Lewis, another consultancy firm influential, urged shareholders to support two of the four candidates.

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